The British Council and St Antony’s College, Oxford, have announced the creation of the Hammamet Scholarship, which will give students from North Africa access to UK education and expertise.
The scholarship, announced at the British Council’s Hammamet Conference in Tunisia, will enable students from Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco to attend a short academic programme at Oxford supported by St Antony’s College 2014 Summer School - followed by a week of professional development designed by the British Council and partners.
The scholars will develop a project in collaboration with young people from the UK. The 2014 Scholarship winners will then return to Hammamet Conference 2014 to present their work.
In 2015 the British Council hopes to work with Hammamet partners to provide full scholarships to Oxford University for MA study in an area directly relevant to the themes and purpose of this conference – which include:
- Trust and accountability between citizens and leaders
- Difference, diversity and dialogue
- Active citizenship
- Reform of the education system, skills and entrepreneurship
- Arts, culture and innovation
Further details will be announced regarding the application process for the scholarship in due course.
Held for the second year in Tunisia from 13-17 November, the Hammamet Conference saw 90 leaders from the UK and across North Africa to discuss mutual political, social and cultural challenges.
Hammamet is a major new British Council conference series connecting senior leaders from the UK with counterparts from the countries of North Africa, providing a unique opportunity to bring together leading figures from politics, civil society, academia, the media, business and the arts.
Comprised of both open and closed sessions, the conference provided a platform for open and frank discussion that allowed for real understanding and relationship building. Included in the open sessions were a number of highly informative speeches and presentations.
Sir Vernon Ellis, Chair of the British Council said, “It is not easy to establish a successful new annual conference. But I do believe that we have done it here. The special identity of the conference comes from the uniqueness of a UK axis in this francophone region. But it also comes from the openness of the discussions.”
Sir Vernon Ellis, continued, “A real momentum has been built. This is no mean achievement. This is a part of the world with which the UK is not well connected. But seismic changes are underway, not just politically but also through the spread of English. We have an opportunity to share some of our learning in areas that matter - civil society, justice, education, active citizenship, the role of the arts. This conference can and will play a major role in this. Hammamet is now an institution.”
The conference included a presentation from Gallup on their World Poll findings in the UK and the countries of North Africa. The polling specifically focused on this year’s conference themes: trust and accountability between citizens and leaders; difference, diversity and dialogue; active citizenship, and reform of the education system, skills and entrepreneurships.
The research presentation was followed by a speech from Dr H.A Hellyer of the Brookings Institute, Egypt.
Participants also heard from Samar Mezghanni who presented on The Revolutionary Promise, a study that analyses the perceptions of the youth in the three countries of transition, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, and explores the gap between the expectations and perceptions of the young populations of these countries, and the realities of experience.
Co-Chair Dr Atia Lawgali from Libya, said:
‘After four days of intense work, panel discussions, and workshops the Hammamet conference can claim that it has succeeded in meeting its main objectives. The conference provided a unique chance for participants to form and strengthen beneficial relationships and it brought together a remarkable mix of delegates that represent a wide spectrum of experiences, voices, ideas and attitudes. The debate on panel discussions, workshops and the conference at large was characterized by an emphasis on discussing real issues, and producing practical solutions. The conference has also succeeded in meeting a major challenge that usually faces similar events that is to gain an identity of its own that distinguished itself from other conferences. A task that is not usually achievable in just two years.’
Co-Chair Lord Lothian PC QC, UK, said:
‘I was delighted to be asked to Co-Chair the Hammamet Conference once again in 2013. The conference enables leaders to together explore the shared challenges they face and to see the world from each other’s perspectives. I am always encouraged by the strength of interest and passion amongst participants who are eager to learn and share with one another. Hammamet 2013 was a huge success and has helped to establish the conference series as one of the most important forums in the region to discuss and share the huge political, social and cultural changes taking place in all of our societies.”
This year’s conference was a great success and participants spoke of an increased level of understanding and trust as a result of the formal and informal meetings. In light of this, the British Council’s offices in North Africa and the UK will be arranging further meetings between current participants will the aim of building upon the firm foundations already laid.
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